I have been asked a lot over the last two weeks about where the idea for ProductCamp Austin came from and why we are putting this event on. I wish I could say I came up with the idea – but that credit goes to EDIT: Luke Hohmann and Rick Mirinov at Enthiosys Brian Lawley from the 280 Group in California, who coordinated P-Camp Silicon Valley in March. But it goes deeper, because I believe Austin is at a tipping point, both for startups and for Product Management and Product Marketing.
Paul Young: I’ve been in Austin for 10 years, and had several opportunities to move out to the Valley, but always turned them down because we love Austin. One aspect of the Bay Area that I’ve always had a jealous eye towards is that their critical mass of technical and marketing people really lends itself to organization of great events.
Aside from the various BarCamps, the first ProductCamp (called P-Camp) was held in the Valley back in March. I looked at what they did and thought “we need that in Austin.” I sent out some feelers to people I’ve met through my Product Management blog (Product Beautiful) and away we went.
Austin just feels right at this point in time: the economic downturn hasn’t hit us as hard as the rest of the U.S., our housing never got mega overinflated like everywhere else, Californians still move here in droves because it’s so cheap, and we have lots of creative, technical, and marketing talent doing really cool things.
I had the opportunity to attend a marketing roundtable hosted by Austin Ventures last week where they showed off a new job site (site name and link redacted) they are working on. The really interesting tidbit was that they mentioned that the #1 reason that talent hesitates to relo to Austin is fear that if their startup fails, that there won’t be enough going on in Austin to keep a vibrant market for their skills.
ProductCamp is another cog in that machine; the fact that in a few short weeks we have a bunch of great sponsors, some exciting sessions, and dozens of participants already signed up validates that there is both an audience and an appetite for knowledge exchange about Product Management in Austin.
East of the Sierra Nevada, you can make a very strong argument that Austin is the center of the tech world. You don’t have to look hard for new about Austin startups. The time to step up is now Product Managers – are you ready to shape the future of Product Management?